Monday, June 27, 2005

Banged Up

From The Times today:-

ENGLAND and Wales have been toppled as the jail capital of Western Europe, according to figures published today .

A total of 144 people per 100,000 of the population were in jail in Luxembourg last year, compared with 142 in England and Wales, which had held the top spot in the World Prison Population List for two years.

They have now fallen from the top position as a result of the entry into the EU in May 2004 of former Communist bloc states.

Scotland had an imprisonment rate of 132 and Northern Ireland 72 per 100,000 of the population. The EU accession countries, apart from Malta, with 72 per 100,000 of the population, Cyprus, with 50, and Slovenia, with 56, all had higher imprisonment rates. Estonia jailed 339 per 100,000 of its population, Latvia 337, Lithuania 234, Poland 209, the Czech Republic 184, and Slovakia and Hungary both 165.

The United States remained the world’s top jailer, with a total of 2.1 million inmates, a rate of 714 per 100,000 of the population. In total there were more than nine million people behind bars across the globe, according to the survey compiled by Roy Walmsley.

I find the figure of 2.1 million in prison in the USA almost incredible. From what I read US prisons vary in style from the relaxed to the near-barbaric. The latter is more common when local sheriffs treat prisoners harshly in order to get themselves re-elected.

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